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#29 – Secondary Dominants Major Scale.

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Continuing with the theoretical expansion and referring again to the dominant chords (those who missed it can see: #22 – 5 Types of Dominant Seventh Chords), after understanding the existence and purpose of the Primary Dominant in Major Harmony ( Also see: #13 – Major Scale Harmonic Functions and #14 – Major Scale Harmonic/ Melodic Tensions), a good step to follow are Secondary Dominants.


A brief definition for tuning in: “Secondary Dominants are those degrees of the scale that are not Dominant and that become Dominant (momentarily or not) to resolve by intervals of ascending fourths or their inversion, descending fifths”. Secondary Dominants tend to copy the intention and color of the Primary Dominant.


These Dominantes are found very frequently in all kinds of popular songs/ standards of jazz, etc … and in many cases they resolve to the expected chord  by intervals of fourths/ fifths; Although many other times they do not (deceptive resolution) generating some confusion in the analysis/ interpretation of the same ones. However, they should always be viewed/ analyzed as such, unless it is another type of Dominant chord. (You can see: #16- 3 Steps to Harmonic Analysis)


The following example shows the Harmony of the Major Scale (C), its Secondary Dominants and their Resolutions.




Remember that the best exercise is always the analysis. Some interesting Standards may be: Stella by starlight, All of me, Someday my prince will come, among many more …

Until the next post!